Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Playing with Time, Messing with Expectations

In this path in the garden of possible universes, the groundhog saw his shadow and there will be 6 more weeks of winter. Personally, I am hoping for a big snowstorm that is fun to play in, but that is another kind of play than what we will be talking about today as we discuss the film Groundhog Day and Katherine Phelps's diagrams of story shapes. So much energy in Classical Hollywood Cinema's preservation of continuity goes into the spectator knowing where he or she is in space; time is usually a given unless the film is deliberately playing with time (like Memento.) It is particularly interesting to notice how time is compressed in Groundhog Day, how the clock and a few music cues work to signal the passage of time, and what is necessary for us to know where we are in the day, and if we need to know that at all.

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